A Message from the President...July 2017

What an honor to be asked to serve as President of AUSA FIRES Chapter!

My ties with the military go deep into my family’s history.  My dad served as an Air Force mechanic; during WW II my father-in-law served as a Captain in the Army, and also during WWI II my mother-in-law served as a Navy WAVE. My husband, Jesse Bailey, COL (R) USAR, was active duty within the Dental Corp and completed his military career in the Army Reserves.   Through my husband’s service I experienced first-hand many of the challenges our military families face because my family remains a military family!

While my family ties are strong, they are not my primary reason for working with AUSA.  As an educator I’ve enjoyed working with many outstanding high school students who arrive in Lawton-Fort Sill due to a parent being stationed here.  The life experiences these students bring to their education are abundant and diverse.  Upon graduation from Great Plains many of these students have voluntarily joined the services—while for many others—our Pre-Engineering academy has been a portal leading to acceptance into one of the nation’s prestigious military academies.

Serving with the FIRES Chapter has given me an incredible opportunity to give back to those soldiers and their families who serve our nation every day.

Several years ago Fort Sill was dangerously close to falling victim to budget shortfalls as base realignments happened throughout the US. I firmly believe it was the Lawton community standing alongside Fort Sill that positively impacted the DOD’s decision to not only keep Fort Sill stable but to grow its troop strength! AUSA and the FIRES Chapter played a significant role in keeping our community informed, engaged and supportive of Fort Sill’s vital missions.

It is my pleasure to lead the FIRES chapter comprised of corporate and individual members who strongly back our army families by being their voice within our community, state and nation.  My personal belief is that to whom much is given, much is required.  My family’s designation as a military family has instilled in me a desire to be part of a greater purpose—to take a stand on behalf of our soldiers when they cannot speak for themselves.

The AUSA FIRES chapter gives us all an opportunity to champion our soldiers and their families. Join me and help spread the word. Membership costs are minimal. The return on your investment to the Lawton-Fort Sill community is priceless.

Ms. Karen Bailey
President - AUSA Fires Chapter

A Message from the President...March 2016

It is with great pleasure to address the 3rd Quarter (January – March) of the Fires Chapter, AUSA.

I had the opportunity to educate many of young soldiers across the Fires Center of Excellence on the Association of the Unites States Army and specifically the Fires Chapter. Each quarter the Command Sergeant Major for the Fires Center of Excellence, CSM Brian Lindsey, hosts a Soldiers Forum for all Specialist (E- 4) and below. It is at this forum that I have the privilege to introduce and educate the Soldiers on AUSA and the relevance the Fires Chapter has with supporting the Soldiers, family members, veterans and retirees. Appreciate CSM Lindsey and his support.

In saying that, I had the opportunity to address the Military Science IV Cadets from the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) from the Comanche Battalion, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma on 11 March 16. This was an informal discussion with 13 MSIV cadets who are about to graduate and become second lieutenants. Topics of discussion included expectations of them as they assume the roles and duties as platoon leaders, along with their interactions with platoon sergeants and soldiers. Again, was able to educate them on AUSA, its benefits to the Soldiers, family members, veterans and retirees. The Fires Chapter provided each MSIV cadet a two year AUSA membership for their dedication with graduating and becoming a member of the Army Team.

Cameron University’s George D. Keathley Department of Military Science presented awards and scholarships to members of the Comanche Battalion, Cameron’s Army ROTC unit, during a ceremony held on 25 March 2016. The Comanche Battalion recognized cadets for meritorious performance in the areas of military science, academics, physical fitness, personal achievement, and leadership. LTC (R) Tor Littau, VP – Retirees, presented the Association of the United States Army Award to a third-year cadet who demonstrated academic excellence and contributed to advancing the standards of the Department of Military Science. It was with great pleasure that Tor presented the AUSA Award to MSII Cadet Carolyn Belcher! Congratulations!

We are currently coordinating with the Comanche County Veterans Council along with the Vietnam Veterans Association #751, to honor Vietnam War Veterans for their selfless service and sacrifices. The goal is to provide The United States of American Vietnam War Commemoration lapel pin to recognize, thank, and honor all veterans who served during the Vietnam War Period. Recognition will go to those veterans who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. For more information, please contact me and also click on the active link in this newsletter to view the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin fact sheet.

The Lawton/Fort Sill AUSA Fires Chapter, in conjunction with the Fort Sill 2016 Fires Conference, will host the 34th Annual Hardy Stone AUSA Golf Tournament on Monday, 2 May 2016, at the Fort Sill Golf Course. This tournament continues to be one of the best sporting events in the community. This is our only fund raising event in which the money raised allows your Fires Chapter to sponsor many Fort Sill Soldier, family member, veteran and retiree activities. We appreciate the support and dedication that COL(R) Gary Kinne, AUSA Fires Chapter Golf Director, Ms. Cari Holden and many others provide in support of our fund raising event. As always, it will be a great day of good sport and fun. We are also planning to host the fifth (5th) Annual Care Providers Recognition Reception in honoring and recognizing those Citizens of the Lawton-Fort Sill community who have exemplified the dedication of supporting others. The reception will take place on Thursday, 26 May 16, 1730 – 1900 at the Lawton Country Club. Robert F. Kennedy stated that “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in total all of those acts will be written the history of this generation.” This quote reaches out and speaks to those in our Lawton-Fort Sill community who are working to make a difference in their community by going out and doing things, not to be seen or recognized, but to help others. As such, AUSA Fires Chapter will formerly recognize, pay tribute and present an award to those that do so much for community, again, not to be recognized but to help others.

Finally, we are in full swing with our Spring Recruiting Drive! Our goal is 800 members in which we are working hard to achieve. Your efforts with educating those on AUSA and the Fires Chapters support to the Soldiers, Family Members, Veterans and Retirees is greatly appreciated. Each new member signed up to 31 May 16, will have an opportunity to win two Ranger Tickets and accommodation in an Arlington, Texas hotel. Please see the attached flyer in this newsletter for more information.

As our 3rd quarter closes, I would like to thank all of our AUSA Fires individual and corporate members for their continued support. It is through “strength in numbers” that AUSA continues to be the voice and advocates for the Soldier, family members, retirees and veterans.

Click here to download this newsletter in its entirety.

Jim Hankins
COL(R), USA
President - AUSA Fires Chapter

A Message from the President...February 2016

It is with great pleasure to address the 2nd Quarter (September – December) of the Fires Chapter, AUSA. AUSA held their National Convention in Washington, D.C., 11 -13 October 2015. The Fires Chapter was actively represented with participants to include the Executive Secretary, Lisa Johnson; Speakers Bureau Vice President, CSM (R) Anthony Williams; Oklahoma State President and Vice President Relevance, COL (R) Nate Slate and myself.

Highlighted activities include:

  • - Fires Chapter Sponsored The Army Ten Miler with three running teams from the Fires Center of Excellence that included a male team, female team and a Sergeant Major’s running team. Congratulations to the Sergeant Major’s running team that place 2nd.
  • - LTG Halverson, the former commander of the Fires Center of Excellence, and his wife, Karen, hosted a reception at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC, for not only the Fires Center of Excellence Personnel but also for AUSA members that are participating in the AUSA National Convention.
  • - AUSA National Convention Opening Ceremony with the keynote address given by the Honorable John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army
  • - AUSA National provided a workshop for all Presidents and delegates that participated in the AUSA National Convention.
  • - Participated in the AUSA 4th Region Breakfast that included recognizing and providing awards to 4th Region AUSA Chapters to include having the SMA Dailey as the guest speaker. Lisa Johnson additionally took pictures that were utilized by the Lawton Constitution.
  • - Awards to the Fires Chapter included:
    • Merit Chapter
    • Best Corporate Support
    • Best Support to Recruiting Command
    • Take the Hill Chapter
    • Army History
    • Member Communications
    • Family Programs
    • Institute Land Warfare Honor Roll
  • - Hosted a reception in honor of the Fires Center of Excellence. The event was well attended in which many Air Defense and Field Artillery soldiers, veterans and retirees participated. We would like to thank the following sponsors for their support with the Fires Chapter Fires Center of Excellence reception held at the 61st AUSA National Convention, Washington, DC:
    • BAE Systems
    • MG (R) Lee Baxter
    • Burgess Family
    • Ft. Sill Federal Credit Union
    • Lawton Constitution
    • Lockheed Martin
    • Gene Love
    • Northrop Grumman
    • Pam and Barry’s Team RE/MAX
    • Seiler Instrument & MFG Co. Inc.
    • Tony Capuccio Dream Homes
    • Raytheon

The AUSA National Convention solidified their mission since 1950 - to support all aspects of national security while advancing the interests of America’s Army and the men and women who serve. As a private, non-profit educational organization, AUSA supports America’s Army - Active, National Guard, Reserve, Civilians, Retirees, Government Civilians, Wounded Warriors, Veterans, and family members.

AUSA represents every American Soldier by:

  • Being the voice for all components of America’s Army
  • Fostering public support of the Army’s role in national security
  • Providing professional education and information programs

November we found AUSA Fires Chapter members supporting the numerous Veterans Day activities across Lawton, Oklahoma: honoring those Veterans that raised their right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; to bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and to obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

The Fires Chapter additionally held a General Membership Meeting in Conjunction with the Lawton Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Fall reception, 17 November. President of the Military Affairs Committee, Joe Diaz, provided an introduction to include indicating the Fires Chapter AUSA support to the community. At this event, Joe Diaz and I recognized and presented a Certificate of Achievement to SGM Kevin Daley, Fires Center of Excellence Liaison Officer to the AUSA Fires Chapter Executive Board, for his work and support for the I-Count of Homeless veterans in the Lawton community

In December 2015, the Fires Chapter provided four scholarships to Military Science (MS) I, MS II, MS III and MS IV Cadets in the amount of $250.00 each. The scholarships were presented at the Cameron University ROTC 2015 Fall Awards Ceremony held at Cameron University, 4 Dec 14.

Finally, on 19 Dec, the AUSA Fires Chapter, was the facilitating agency for the Soldier/Family Council food distribution with Feed the Children. At this event over 800 Lawton families each were provided with 25 pounds of food, 10 pounds of personal care products and 5 pounds of Avon products. A great event that was coordinated by Nate Slate, Oklahoma State President and Relevance Vice President, Fires Chapter.

As we close out 2015 and move into 2016, I would like to reiterate that the Fires Chapters continues to be the voice for America’s Soldiers but especially the Soldiers that make Lawton – Ft. Sill their home.

That dedication is to build the best professional and representative chapter, in the best association, for the world’s best Army.

We look forward to another year of relevant service to Soldiers, their families, veterans and retirees. AUSA Fires Chapter Strong!

Click here to download this newsletter in its entirety.

Jim Hankins
COL(R), USA
President - AUSA Fires Chapter

Lawton Chamber of Commerce - Military Affairs SocialFebruary 2016

On November 17, 2015 the Lawton Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs committee held its Fall Social at the Lawton Country Club. The event was a great success with over 100 in attendance.

The Military Affairs goal is to interact with the Fort Sill Leadership along with the Lawton Business leaders in order to meet and socialize.

The Lawton business leaders are the foundation of Lawton and are offering services and opportunity for our soldier’s family members, veterans and retirees in order to develop and improve our city growth with making Lawton a their home.

We would like to thank our Military Affairs members for their support with Hailing & saying Farewell to our military friends of the Fort Sill Fires Center of Excellence, Commanded by Major General John Rossi.

We additionally invited the Association of the United States Army to join us for this evening’s event. As the voice for the Soldiers, AUSA supports key and essential actions in order to properly fund, maintain, sustain and modernize a comber-ready all-volunteer American Army. The local Fires Chapter maintains relevancy with supporting the Lawton-Ft. Sill Soldiers, family members, veterans and retirees.

AUSA additionally made a presentation to CSM Kevin Daley, FCoE AUSA Fires Chapter liaison officer, who distinguish himself with coordinating Soldier support for the semi-annual Lawton I-Count for homeless veterans.

The evening was a great social event interacting with the Lawton business leaders along with the FCoE Command Group and their lovely spouses.

A special thank you to COL (R) Albert Johnson, Cameron University VP for University Advancement and COL (R) Jim Hankins, AUSA Fires Chapter President.

The next Military Affairs will be our Spring Social is scheduled for Thursday, April 14, 2016 at the Lawton Country Club from 5:30-7:00 PM

Respectfully submitted:

CW5 (R) Joseph Diaz, Chairperson, Lawton Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee

President's LetterJanuary 2016

It is with great pleasure to address the 2nd Quarter (September – December) of the Fires Chapter, AUSA.

AUSA held their National Convention in Washington, D.C., 11 -13 October 2015. The Fires Chapter was actively represented with participants to include the Executive Secretary, Lisa Johnson; Speakers Bureau Vice President, CSM (R) Anthony Williams; Oklahoma State President and Vice President Relevance, COL (R) Nate Slate and myself.

Highlighted activities included:

-Fires Chapter Sponsored The Army Ten Miler with three running teams from the Fires Center of Excellence that included a male team, female team and a Sergeant Major’s running team. Congratulations to the Sergeant Major’s running team that place 2nd.

- LTG Halverson, the former commander of the Fires Center of Excellence, and his wife, Karen, hosted a reception at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC, for not only the Fires Center of Excellence Personnel but also for AUSA members that are participating in the AUSA National Convention.

- AUSA National Convention Opening Ceremony with the keynote address given by the Honorable John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army.

- AUSA National provided a workshop for all Presidents and delegates that participated in the AUSA National Convention

- Participated in the AUSA 4th Region Breakfast that included recognizing and providing awards to 4th Region AUSA Chapters to include having the SMA Dailey as the guest speaker. Lisa Johnson additionally took pictures that will be utilized by the Lawton Constitution.

- Hosted a reception in honor of the Fires Center of Excellence. The event was well attended in which many Air Defense and Field Artillery soldiers, veterans and retirees participated. We would like to thank the following sponsors for their support with the Fires Chapter Fires Center of Excellence reception held at the 61st AUSA National Convention, Washington, DC:

  • BAE Systems
  • MG (R) Lee Baxter
  • Burgess Family
  • Ft. Sill Federal Credit Union
  • Lawton Constitution
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Gene Love
  • Northrup Grumman
  • Pam and Barry's Team RE/MAX
  • Seiler Instrument & MFG Co. Inc.
  • Tony Capuccio Dream Homes
  • Raytheon

The AUSA National Convention solidified their mission since 1950 - to support all aspects of national security while advancing the interests of America's Army and the men and women who serve. As a private, non-profit educational organization, AUSA supports America's Army - Active, National Guard, Reserve, Civilians, Retirees, Government Civilians, Wounded Warriors, Veterans, and family members. AUSA represents every American Soldier by:

- Being the voice for all components of America's Army

- Fostering public support of the Army's role in national security

- Providing professional education and information programs

November we found AUSA Fires Chapter members supporting the numerous Veterans Day activities across Lawton, Oklahoma: honoring those Veterans that raised their right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; to bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and to obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

The Fires Chapter additionally held a General Membership Meeting in Conjunction with the Lawton Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Fall reception, 17 November. President of the Military Affairs Committee, Joe Diaz, provided an introduction to include indicating the Fires Chapter AUSA support to the community. At this event, Joe Diaz and I recognized and presented a Certificate of Achievement to SGM Kevin Daley, Fires Center of Excellence Liaison Officer to the AUSA Fires Chapter Executive Board, for his work and support for the I-Count of Homeless veterans in the Lawton community.

In December 2015, the Fires Chapter provided four scholarships to Military Science (MS) I, MS II, MS III and MS IV Cadets in the amount of $250.00 each. The scholarships were presented at the Cameron University ROTC 2015 Fall Awards Ceremony held at Cameron University, 4 Dec 14.

Finally, on 19 Dec, the AUSA Fires Chapter, was the facilitating agency for the Soldier/Family Council food distribution with Feed the Children. At this event over 800 Lawton families each were provided with 25 pounds of food, 10 pounds of personal care products and 5 pounds of Avon products. A great event that was coordinated by Nate Slate, Oklahoma State President and Relevance Vice President, Fires Chapter.

As we close out 2015 and move into 2016, I would like to reiterate that the Fires Chapters continues to be the voice for America's Soldiers but especially the Soldiers that make Lawton – Ft. Sill their home.

That dedication is to build the best professional and representative chapter, in the best association, for the world's best Army.

We look forward to another year of relevant service to Soldiers, their families, veterans and retirees.

AUSA Fires Chapter Strong!

Jim Hankins
COL(R), USA
President - AUSA Fires Chapter

President's LetterJuly 2015

As your AUSA Fires Chapter President, it is with great pleasure that I write my first President’s Letter.

A little about myself - I retired out of Ft. Bliss, Texas, as an Air Defense Artillery Officer, being Blessed with a career that started in June 1974 and ended on April 2008. I moved to Lawton after accepting being the site director for a company that provides supports to the military.

After a few weeks with being in Lawton, my wife, Lusica, and I knew we had made the right choice. As we settled in we noticed the friendliness of the people and the support of the merchants who were always willing to lend a helping hand.

We also began to notice the “bond” that existed between Ft. Sill and the City of Lawton. This support is evident when you see the interaction with the numerous organizations and people that dedicate their time, talent and treasures supporting the soldiers, family members, veterans, and retirees. It is with this type of support that Lusica and I became more involved with being part of this active support to our Lawton – Ft. Sill community.

As our AUSA new year begins on 1 July 2015, I am excited with all of the activities we currently support and those that we are planning in the future. We currently provide awards to honor graduates to include NCO soldiers of the Quarter, Warrant Officer Basic Course, Warriors Leader Course, Basic Officer Leadership Course, and Captain Careers Course; sponsor NCO/Soldier and Drill Sergeant of the Year; provide horses for the Ft. Sill Half Section; Scholarship Funding for Cameron University ROTC students; donations to Armed Services YMCA, Retiree Council, FCoE Morale Welfare Recreation, and Purple Heart Association; Care-Providers Banquet; uniforms for the Post Army Ten Miller teams. We are currently working to support the VA Homeless Outreach Campaign, Hyperbaric Treatment facility for soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injuries and Safe Haven Shelters.

Now, all of this could not be accomplished without the dedication of our Executive Board members who give so much of their time, talent and treasures to not only the AUSA Fires Chapter but also to their Lawton – Ft. Sill community. Your AUSA Fires Chapter board members are:

Treasurer: Carl Welsh
Secretary: Lisa Johnson
President, State of OK: COL (R) Nate Slate
Immediate Past President: Phil Kennedy
VP, Retirees: LTC (R) Tor Littau
VP Awards: CSM (R) Anthony Williams
VP Communications: Chris Himes
VP Relevance: COL (R) Nate Slate
VP Corporate Membership: Mark Rodriguez
VP Speakers Bureau: CSM (R) Anthony Williams
VP Marketing/Social Media: Anthony Yeatts
VP Compliance: Karen Bailey
VP Website: CW5 (R) Joe Diaz
VP Veterans Employment Coalition: Kelly Harris
Chairman, Golf Tournament: COL (R) Gary Kinne
VP Special Events: Lisa Johnson

Finally, I am very proud of our superb relationship with the Fires Center of Excellence leadership in which we are actively engaging the soldiers in order to educate them on who the AUSA Fires Chapter and how they can become part of an organization that is the voice of the Army providing support for the Soldier!

As our new year begins I am reaching out to our members for their support as we move forward with supporting the Soldiers, family members, veterans and retirees.

There are challenges ahead in readiness and sustainment in which AUSA will be the voice of the Army and for the soldiers.

AUSA Fires Chapter Strong!

Jim Hankins
COL(R), USA
President - AUSA Fires Chapter

NewslettersMay 2015

Help Needed for Homeless Vets Stand Down in SW Oklahoma

The third annual Lawton – SW Oklahoma Stand Down is gearing up to help homeless veterans on Friday, May 1, at Centenary United Methodist Church, 704 SW D Avenue in downtown Lawton.

In the past two years, the Stand Down has helped more than 100 homeless veterans from 16 counties in SW Oklahoma, some of whom have had their lives changed significantly with housing for individuals and families living on the streets, prescription drugs for critical illnesses, employment, lifetime eligibility for Veterans Administration services and benefits and more.

Clothing is our biggest need. The clothing collection site is at 1003 SW E. Avenue (corner of 10th and E) in Lawton (has an American flag in the window) and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, starting Tuesday, 10 March, and continuing until Wednesday, April 22.

The stand Down needs men’s (primarily) and women’s clothing in smalls, mediums, and some larges in spring and summer clothing, including new socks, underwear and white tee-shirts for men , and new or gently used men’s and women’s shirts/tee-shirts, lightweight jackets, sweat shirts, rain gear, blue jeans, slacks, sandals, flip flops, tennis shoes and boots. The Stand Down also needs hand soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene items for the vets. To volunteer to help with clothing collection, sorting and distribution or for more information about clothing donations, call Susan Secor at 580-510-0060 or email her at okzeek@aol.com.

Food Needs. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for 300 people at each meal with food already donated for lunch. The Stand Down needs pancakes (frozen or mix); French toast (bread, eggs, and milk); single servings of syrup and butter; Texas toast; biscuits (300 frozen) with country gravy; bacon (20 pounds); sausage links (600); apples, oranges and bananas; and cold cereal (singles). Lunch is being provided by the Comanche County Veterans Council.

The drinks and condiments needed are Crystal Light mix, sodas (regular and diet), coffee, iced tea, and bottled water plus single servings of salt, pepper, sugar, sugar substitutes, and creamers. The Stand Down also needs individual drinks and juices, breakfast bars, chips, cookies, canned meats, crackers and other snacks for the vets’ take-away Goodie Bags. You

We have enough folks who have volunteered for the Stand Down. Thank you, Lawton-Fort Sill!

Donations help us fill in the gaps. Jervis Jackson, Chair of the Stand Down and Director of the Continuum of Care at the Lawton Housing Authority, has established a Stand Down account with Liberty National Bank in Lawton; donations are tax deductible. Checks can be made out to Lawton Support Services and mailed to or dropped off at the Lawton Housing Authority, 609 SW F Avenue, Lawton 73501. If you have questions or need more information, call Jervis at 580-353-7392, Extension 308, or email him at JJackson@LawtonHousing.org.

Thank you for any support you can provide our Oklahoma Heroes in need.

Pat Hollis, Media Coordinator, Stand Down Committee
H: 580-699-5205, hollisp@fidnet.com
24 March 2015

President's Letter

As we begin our journey into 2014, I once again wish to express how honored I am to serve as your Chapter President and confirm to you my commitment to what I feel is the greatest AUSA Chapter in the entire organization. The Fires Chapter has a standard of being exemplary in any endeavor it pursues, and that commitment to excellence was certainly evident during this past year.

     In September, we were honored to have a visit from Dale Beatty, Co-Founder of Purple Heart Homes, an organization dedicated to furnishing housing to disabled veterans. Mr. Beatty, a double-amputee himself, certainly understands the challenges faced by our disabled veterans. His visit to the Lawton-Fort Sill area to look for potential sites for a project is a testament to the example we are setting as an advocate for our veterans and how far-reaching our efforts can become.

     Several of us were blessed to have been able to attend the AUSA Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C. in October of 2013, where we witnessed our own Fort Sill Sergeants Major Team win the Sergeant Major of the Army Challenge Cup, as well as receive numerous Chapter awards and Merit Streamers. Specific pride was taken in our recognition of holding the first Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Celebration in the nation, as well as receiving a special award for the "I Count" Campaign. This campaign, which originated in our Chapter's Soldier/Family Council, enabled the Continuum of Care and other community care providers to leverage our AUSA members to conduct a comprehensive community search for homeless veterans. The result was a 67% reduction in the number of homeless veterans and a 50% reduction in homelessness overall. The Homeless Veterans Outreach Campaign, as it was called inside the Soldier/Family Council, demonstrates the ability of AUSA to make a powerful, relevant contribution to our community.

     We were able to meet and spend time with not only our National AUSA President, General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., but also the Army Chief of Staff, General Raymond T. Odierno, the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh and the Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond R. Chandler III . We should rest assured of the commitment from these top leaders to the AUSA cause and purpose and lend our continued support as we work together to improve the lives of our military families.

     On December 21st, 2013, our Soldier Family Council, in conjunction with Feed the Children, supplied over $200,000 worth of food to those in need in our community. This shows the importance of working with other organizations to positively impact the lives of those in our community and the need to remain relevant in our mission and our purpose.

     We are excited that the Fires Chapter will be hosting the 4th Region AUSA Meeting on May 1-4, 2014, here in Lawton. We encourage everyone to attend, as our host hotel will be the Apache Hotel & Casino, and many exciting activities are being planned at various venues in the Lawton-Fort Sill community for attendees. More information is available on our website, www.lawtonfortsillausa.org.

     As we move forward, we must continue to be the voice for our soldiers and their families, as national legislation pertaining to the sequestration, and its impact on military budgets and soldiers, continues to be a strain on our military and its families. AUSA National will continue its battle against the provision that would negatively affect the calculation of the COLA for under-age-62 military retirees, which is scheduled to take effect in January 2015. Our commitment on this will not waiver.

     I am looking forward to an exciting and productive year for our Fires Chapter and wish to express my gratitude to the soldiers and their families for their service to our country. I am grateful for the continued support of our corporate members who lend their support to our service men and women, as well as helping us continue our great cause.

     I am very appreciative for this opportunity, and once again affirm my commitment to the Fires Chapter and the soldiers it serves. As we move forward, I challenge us all to make 2014 our best year ever!

Respectfully,
Phil Kennedy
President